Stories by Sarah Chacko:
April 15, 2015
Senators negotiated Wednesday over how to end a legislative standoff that has stalled votes on an otherwise noncontroversial anti-human trafficking bill as well as the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general.
March 12, 2015
The controversial letter signed by 47 Republicans to Iran’s leaders authored by Sen. Tom Cotton should yield a better agreement if used properly by the Obama administration, Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday.
Feb. 27, 2015
Lawmakers managed Friday to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security by clearing a one-week stopgap funding measure.
The move forestalls a funding lapse DHS, whose budget authority was set to expire at midnight.
With House Republicans in full disarray after failing to pass a three-week stopgap, the Senate moved a more modest one-week measure, bailing out House leaders who were unable to deliver the votes needed to advance their plan.
The House emphatically passed the stopgap, which would extend the DHS' budget authority through March 6, 357-60, just before 10 p.m., on Friday evening sending the patch to the president's desk.
Feb. 27, 2015
In a fiery speech Friday morning, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski slammed House Republicans' latest proposal to fund the Department of Homeland Security with a three-week stopgap measure, saying lawmakers need “to get off [their] press releases.”
“I say to my friends in the House, to delay this three more weeks is reckless, and it is dangerous,” the Maryland Democrat said. “What are we going to know? We’re waiting for the courts to decide? Who knows when the courts will decide?”
Feb. 26, 2015
Sometimes you just can’t resist the urge to start a snowball fight.
Feb. 10, 2015
“Lives are in the balance,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin told reporters Tuesday on the importance of getting the balance right in a proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group.
Feb. 5, 2015
The opening gambit by Senate Democrats on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security gives a strong signal about how the party intends to handle its position as the minority on the Senate floor.
Feb. 3, 2015
Democrats banded together Tuesday to block the Senate from considering a Homeland Security spending bill, leaving GOP leaders scrambling to find another path forward to challenge the president over immigration.
Jan. 29, 2015
A veto showdown moved closer on Thursday after the Senate passed legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and yank the decision out of President Barack Obama’s hands.
Jan. 26, 2015
With a handful of senators out and Democrats calling for more amendments, GOP leaders were unable to limit debate on a measure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline Monday.
Jan. 23, 2015
The Keystone XL pipeline is expected to deliver jobs and tax revenue as it crosses from Canada to the northern border of Kansas, cutting through parts of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska on the way.
Jan. 14, 2015
With hopes high for the new era of GOP majority control, House and Senate Republicans are headed off the Hill to plot a course for the party’s stymied legislative agenda.
Dec. 3, 2014
As the House finalizes funding for anti-Islamic State operations, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Angus King, I-Maine, hammered the administration on the Senate floor Wednesday for failing to seek a new war authorization, while calling on Congress to debate an authorization before recessing for the holidays.
Kaine, who has previously criticized President Barack Obama's unilateral action against the group also known as ISIS or ISIL, said failing to debate a measure would be "disrespectful of the troops," while King said it would be "one more giving away — of our constitutional authority to the executive."
"Giving this president — giving any president — a green light to wage unilateral war for five or six months without any meaningful debate or authorization would be deeply destructive of the legitimacy of the legislative branch of our government, it would be deeply disrespectful of our citizens and it would be especially disrespectful of the troops," Kaine said.
Nov. 19, 2014
A key figure in the congressional debate over online sales tax collections is Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, the veteran Virginia Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte has said he plans to draft sales tax legislation based on seven basic principles, which he lists on his committee’s website.
Nov. 19, 2014
Though the Senate appears ready to pass a second bill allowing states to require online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by their residents, House leaders seem intent on keeping the issue out of an end-of-Congress rush for action.
Nov. 12, 2014
Embattled Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu announced her support for an immediate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline on the floor Wednesday, as House Republicans moved forward with an identical measure to help Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is in a runoff with Landrieu.
"This has been a project that has lingered far too long," Landrieu said. "I believe it is time to act.”
Oct. 16, 2014
The Republican critique of the president’s health care overhaul law may have hit a wall in Minnesota, complicating the GOP’s already long chances of picking up a Senate seat in the state.
Aug. 5, 2014
Prior to effectively adjourning for five weeks, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., used Tuesday's Senate session to hammer President Barack Obama for proposing changes to immigration laws at the end of the summer without consent from Congress.
The administration is reportedly considering an executive order to provide legal status and work authorization cards to 5 million to 6 million of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, which Sessions called 'unlawful.'
"I've urged the president to reconsider this plan and to adhere to his plain statements where he has expressely stated he did not have the power to do what he now, in a complete reversal, states that he will do," Sessions said during a nearly 30-minute floor speech. "It is important for the Congress to stand up and resist the complete errosion of its powers. If these actions are taken, we will have effectively opened the borders of America. We are nearly there already."
Following a pro forma session Friday, the Senate will reconvene for legislative business at 2 p.m. on Sept. 8.
July 31, 2014
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday it was “exasperating” working with the White House on a solution to the child migrant crisis at the Southern border, blasting President Barack Obama over a recent West Coast fundraising trip.
“Scuttling reform and prolonging a crisis are not part of his job description,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. “Press pause on the non-stop photo ops and start demonstrating some real leadership instead.”
McConnell’s comments came ahead of a planned motion Thursday afternoon to proceed to a border supplemental bill, even as the House and Senate continue to disagree on a top-line spending amount to address the crisis.
July 16, 2014
Senators blocked legislation Wednesday that would have required Hobby Lobby and other private employers with religious interests to pay for birth control.
May 21, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul contested the nomination of David J. Barron to be a First Circuit appeals court judge as well as the Obama administration's use of drones for targeted killings of Americans during a 31-minute floor speech Wednesday.
The Kentucky Republican faced an objection to a unanimous consent request to delay Barron's confirmation, and following Paul's morning remarks Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., took the floor in support of Barron while criticizing the Obama administration for its resistance to providing Congress with memos outlining its legal basis for carrying out acts of war.
"It's unfortunate that it took Mr. Barron's nomination for the Justice Department to make these memos public," Wyden said. "I believe that every American has the right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them."
The Senate later voted to limit debate on Barron's nomination to a seat on the Boston-based court, 52-43.
May 21, 2014
Updated 3:15 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul wore comfortable shoes to work today, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to hold the floor for hours.
March 7, 2013
The Senate confirmed John O. Brennan to be CIA director Thursday after Sen. Rand Paul received the answer he wanted from the Obama administration on the potential use of drones against Americans on U.S. soil.
March 6, 2013
After a nearly 13-hour filibuster led by Sen. Rand Paul over drone strike policies within U.S. borders, senators took procedural steps early Thursday to advance the nomination of John O. Brennan to be CIA director.
March 4, 2013
The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on CIA director nominee John O. Brennan — and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants a full Senate vote this week — but Republicans still want more answers on last year’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.